Protecting children from exposure to lead is important to lifelong good health. Even low levels of lead in the blood have been shown to affect IQ, the ability to pay attention, and academic achievement. The effects of lead exposure cannot be corrected.
Lead poisoning is caused by swallowing or breathing in lead. Children under six years old are most at risk, and even unborn babies can be harmed if their pregnant mothers are exposed to lead.
Most children with lead poisoning do not look or act sick. Unfortunately, a lead test is the only way to know if your child has lead poisoning, so ask your doctor to test your child.
Prevention is the most important step that parents, doctors, and others can take, so here are some tips to avoid lead exposure:
- Test your home for lead.
- If you live in a home built before 1978, have your home inspected by a licensed lead inspector.
- Contact your local health department for more information.
Sometimes lead comes from things other than paint in your home, such as:
- Candy, toys, glazed pottery, and folk medicine made in other countries;
- Work like auto refinishing, construction, and plumbing; and
- Soil and tap water.
- Keep children away from lead paint and dust.
- Use wet paper towels to clean up lead dust. Be sure to clean around windows, play areas, and floors.
- Wash hands and toys often, especially before eating and sleeping. Use soap and water.
- Use contact paper or duct tape to cover chipping or peeling paint.
- Renovate safely. Home repairs like sanding or scraping paint can make dangerous dust.
- Keep children and pregnant women away from the work area.
- Make sure you and/or any workers are trained in lead-safe work practices.
This article is courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For more information on how to prevent lead poisoning in children, please visit http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/.